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Man shot in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood testifies about discrepancies in story

The man accused of falsely reporting that he was shot while trying to help a woman in apparent distress took the stand on Friday and stood by his story.

Alcide Cloutier
Alcide Cloutier

The man accused of falsely reporting that he was shot while trying to help a woman in apparent distress took the stand on Friday and stood by his story.

Alcide Thomas Cloutier, 34, told jurors that he followed a suspicious car for nearly 20 blocks into the Lakeside neighborhood the night of Jan. 22.

He said that when he saw what appeared to be a blond-haired woman either trying to get out of the suspicious car or being shoved back into it, he approached the car, only to be shot by the driver with a rifle.

Duluth police believe Cloutier made up the story and that he shot himself.

He's been on trial since Wednesday facing charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment of a firearm.

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During her examination of Cloutier, St. Louis County prosecutor Leslie Beiers attempted to point out holes and discrepancies between his story on the witness stand and the initial statements he gave statements to police.

For example, when Cloutier initially called police the night of the shooting, he said he was shot by a black man. On Friday, he said he was shot by a white man, though said there was a black man in the car.

"I mixed it up," he said.

Cloutier also acknowledged that despite following the suspicious vehicle for several blocks, he couldn't provide any details about the car to police that night.

"I was just shot with a high-powered rifle and bleeding to death," he told jurors.

Cloutier said that after he was shot, he texted his ex-girlfriend about the shooting. He then said he saw the rifle, shells and a rifle case near him and carried them to a nearby field where he discarded them, then ran back to near the scene. He then went back to knock on someone's door to ask for help.

When no one would open the door, he said he then called 911. He acknowledged that it took about 12 minutes between the time he texted his girlfriend and when he called 911.

Beiers tried to insinuate that Cloutier shot himself to get the attention of his ex-girlfriend. Cloutier said she unexpectedly broke up with him the day of the shooting, and he said on the stand that he went to visit her that day but later learned she didn't want to see him.

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After the shooting, Cloutier said, his ex-girlfriend went to visit him in the hospital, helped get his car out of a tow lot, and offered to let him stay at her home.

On cross-examination, Cloutier's attorney, public defender Cynthia Evenson, asked him if he had been upset about the breakup.

"No," he responded.

"Did you believe you were getting more attention from (her)?" Evenson asked.

"No more than anybody else," he responded.

Both the defense and prosecution rested following Cloutier's testimony. Judge David Johnson sent the jury home for the weekend and told them they would likely be able to deliberate the case late Monday morning following the attorneys' final arguments.

Cloutier has felony convictions for second- and third-degree burglary, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, being a felon in possession of a firearm and felony escape from custody.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
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